A first batch of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine arrived in the Philippines at the weekend, the president's office said.
According to the Philippine Department of Health, 15,000 doses of Sputnik V, developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute, will be used in four cities in the capital region, the Philippines' coronavirus hotspot.
Despite an import ban on Russian vaccines by Brazil, the vaccine rollout will proceed as planned.
The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) of Brazil previously rejected importing Sputnik V, citing evidence "shows the presence of replicating virus."
The Brazilian regulator's decision, according to Gamaleya Research Institute, "contradicts an earlier decision by Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, which recognized the Sputnik V vaccine as safe and permitted its production in Brazil."
Philippines health department Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Saturday the jabs have been declared safe for public use by the Food and Drug Administration.
Carlito Galvez Jr, chief implementer of the National Task Force vs COVID-19, thanked the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Russian Ambassador Mara Pavlov for the delivery, saying the vaccines would help curb the rise of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.
"Through this trial phase for Sputnik V, we will not only be able to improve the logistics component of our vaccine program, but also prepare the implementing units in receiving and administering this type of vaccine," Galvez said.
The Philippines is negotiating the purchase of 20 million doses of Sputnik V as part of its goal of inoculating up to 70 million adults this year.
After the health department announced 8,346 new cases on Sunday, May 2, the Philippines now has 1,054,983 confirmed COVID-19 cases. This is the second week in a row that daily new cases have fallen below 10,000, but the 7-day running average remains high, hovering around 8,000.
The health department announced 77 new deaths from the coronavirus disease, taking the overall death toll to 17,431, while recoveries increased by 9,072, bringing the total recoveries to 966,080.